International Time Scale

Abstract

An ITS is a calendar of magnetic reversals and palaeontological events. The elements of an ITS consist of: (1) a Global Polarity Time Scale (GPTS) based on distances between magnetic anomalies on the sea floor; (2) analytically precise radioisotopic ages used to calibrate the GPTS; (3) precise magnetobiostratigraphic correlations from which a biochronology is derived (including the correct correlation between magnetozones and sea floor anomalies).

Keywords: geochronology; stratigraphy; biostratigraphy; radiometric dating; astrochronology; international stratigraphic commission

Figure 1.

A geological time scale for the Phanerozoic Eonathem. (Figure provided courtesy of Felix Gradstein, Saga Petroleum Co., Sandvik, Norway.)

Cenozoic: Berggren et al. (1995) SEPM Special Publication54: 130–212. Mesozoic: Gradstein FM et al. (1995) SEPM Special Publication54: 95–126. Palaeozoic: Tucker R and McKerrow W (1995) Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences; Harland W et al. (1990) A Geologic Time Scale. Cambridge University Press; Ogg J et al. (1995) Digital Time Scale of the Phanerozoic. Purdue University; McKerrow et al. (1985) Geological Society of London Memoir10: 73–80; Roberts J et al. (1995).

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References

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Berggren WA, Kent DV, Swisher CC III and Aubry M‐P (1995a) A revised Cenozoic geochronology and chronostratigraphy. In: Berggren WA, Kent DV, Aubry M‐P and Hardenbol J (eds) Geochronology, Time Scales and Global Stratigraphic Correlation, SEPM Special Publication No. 54, pp. 129–212. Tulsa, OK: Society for Sedimentary Geology.

Berggren WA, Hilgen FJ, Langereis CG et al. (1995b) Late Neogene chronology: new perspectives in high‐resolution stratigraphy. Geological Society of America Bulletin 107: 1272–1287.

Cande SC and Kent DV (1992) A new geomagnetic polarity time scale for the Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic. Journal of Geophysical Research 97: 13917–13951.

Cande SC and Kent DV (1995) Revised calibration of the geomagnetic polarity time scale for the Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic. Journal of Geophysical Research 100: 6093–6095.

Gradstein FM, Agterberg FF, Ogg JG et al. (1995) A Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Time Scale. In: Berggren WA, Kent DV, Aubry M‐P and Hardenbol J (eds) Geochronology, Time Scales and Global Stratigraphic Correlation, SEPM Special Publication No. 54, pp. 95–126. Tulsa, OK: Society for Sedimentary Geology.

Harland WB, Armstrong RL, Cox AV et al. (1990) A Geologic Time Scale 1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Hilgen FJ and Langereis C (1991) Extension of the astronomically calibrated (polarity) time scale to the Miocene/Pliocene boundary. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 107: 349–368.

Hilgen FJ, Krijgsman W, Langereis CG and Lourens LJ (1997) Breakthrough made in dating of the geological record. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 78 (28): 285, 288–289.

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Further Reading

Aubry M‐P, Berggren WA, Kent DV et al. (1988) Paleogene gecochronology: an integrated approach. Paleoeceanography 3: 707–742.

Berggren WA, Kent DV, Obradovich JD and Swisher CC III (1992) Towards a revised Paleogene geochronology. In: Prothero DR and Berggren WA (eds) Eocene–Oligocene Climatic and Biotic Evolution, pp. 29–45. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Berggren WA and Van Couvering JA (1978) Biochronology. In: Cohee GV, Glaessner MF and Hedberg HD (eds) Contributions to the Geologic Time Scale, pp. 39–55. Studies in Geology No. 6. Tulsa, OK: American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Gradstein FM, Ogg J, Agterberg F and Hardenbol J (1997) Some constraints on the Phanerozoic time scale. In: Wang Naiwen and Remane J (eds) Proceedings of the 30th International Geologic Congress, Beijing, vol. 11, pp. 11–19.

Haq BU, Hardenbol J and Vail PR (1987) The chronology of fluctuating sea level since the Triassic. Science 235: 1156–1167.

Haq BU, Hardenbol J and Vail PR (1988) Mesozoic and Cenozoic chronostratigraphy and cycles of sea‐level change. In: Wilgus CR, Kendall CG St C, Posamentier HW, Ross CA and Van Wagoner J (eds) Sea Level Changes: An Integrated Approach. Special Publication No. 42. Tulsa, OK: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists.

Snelling NJ (ed.) (1985) The Chronology of the Geologic Record, Geological Society Memoir No. 10. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.

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How to Cite close
Berggren, William A(Apr 2001) International Time Scale. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001619]